SHEEO partners with The JED Foundation to launch inaugural Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community

Five states receive grants to focus on whole-student support

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has kicked off a new learning community to help members develop a statewide plan to support student mental health and wellness. Five states will be awarded $25,000 planning grants to design and implement mental health strategies and solutions that fit the unique context of their respective states.

With generous support from Lumina Foundation, SHEEO and The JED Foundation (JED) will partner with higher education leaders in Arizona, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas on a 15-month project as they work through the development and implementation of policy recommendations to bolster institutions’ capabilities to promote and support student mental health and wellness effectively. Each state will receive planning grants as well as consultative strategic planning and technical assistance to create a sustainable model within each state’s distinctive environment.

The JED Campus Program is an effective and results-driven approach to improving student emotional and mental health while also lowering suicide risk and substance misuse. JED Campus Program, alongside the JED Equitable Implementation Framework, will be used as an anchoring guide for technical assistance to the SHEEO membership and state policymakers. The comprehensive strategic planning framework will enable participating states to build and strengthen their systems and policies and to collaborate with their institutions on programs and practices to promote emotional health and prevent suicide. 

“Students are facing unique challenges that often contribute to additional academic hardships,” said Rob Anderson, SHEEO president. “We are thrilled to partner with The JED Foundation in forming a new learning community to help our members develop strategies for whole student support.”

The SHEEO-JED Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community will provide a forum for states to reflect on what’s working, refine their strategies, and identify areas for cross-state collaboration. It will also help engage new policymakers and stakeholders in efforts to advance student mental health and wellness with special attention to underserved student groups that experience disparities in access to mental health care.

“This learning community will offer the essential support and expert guidance that states need to elevate the significance of student mental health and wellness. The JED Foundation is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with SHEEO in assisting these states with their vital and time-sensitive mental health initiatives,” said Zainab Okolo, senior vice president of policy, advocacy and government relations at The Jed Foundation.

The tools developed by JED use an equitable implementation lens that ensures the needs of marginalized and/or underserved students due to societal and structural inequities are considered and supported with targeted and intentional best practices. Lack of access to good quality mental health care is a significant barrier to educational achievement as it adversely impacts enrollment, re-enrollment, progress, and completion. A primary goal of the learning community will be to mitigate mental health inequities and promote a just design that recognizes historic discrimination and alleviates systemic bias. Specifically, the communities will identify strategies that effectively support students of color and students from low-income circumstances who face systemic inequities and experience pronounced disparities in mental health care access. 

For additional information, visit the project website at

About SHEEO 

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) serves the executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education and their staffs. Founded in 1954, SHEEO promotes an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring the equitable education of all Americans, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic factors. Together with its members, SHEEO aims to achieve this vision by equipping state higher education executive officers and their staffs with the tools to effectively advance the value of higher education, promoting public policies and academic practices that enable all Americans to achieve success in the 21st century, and serving as an advocate for state higher education leadership. For more information, visit

About JED 

The JED Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. JED’s evidence-based, comprehensive public health approach equips teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other, strengthens schools’ mental health and suicide prevention policies, programs and systems, and mobilizes community awareness, understanding, and action. JED is building a future where every high school, college, and community has a comprehensive, fair, and just system that protects emotional health and prevents suicide among teens and young adults. For more information, visit